Over the weekend, this tweet went viral:
“We command all satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now” — Special Adviser to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative Paula White pic.twitter.com/gtdZyGfkxy
— Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons (@GuthrieGF) January 25, 2020
I was as surprised as anyone else to learn that White House spiritual advisor Paula White had called for “all satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now.” It’s unsurprising that many people immediately connected White’s comments to abortion, and began questioning how this fit with White’s avid opposition to abortion—I did too! Her comments certainly seemed to contradict her pro-life views.
But as I pondered White’s words, I took a moment to pause, for two reasons. First, despite growing up in the pro-life movement, I never once heard this language used. It didn’t feel right. Second, White is a Pentecostal, and Pentecostals often have their own in-group terms and rhetoric, which often sound odd to those outside of their circle.
What exactly was a “satanic pregnancy?”
Determined to answer this question, I took to google, excluding the last week from my search in order to avoid commentary on White’s words. I found a lot of references to Rosemary’s Baby, a well-known 1960s horror film about a woman pregnant with Satan’s baby. But then, on the second or third page of my google search, I found a 2016 article titled Aborting Evil Pregnancies, on a Pentecostal blog.
The blog stated as follows:
A lot of people are carrying evil pregnancies around without even knowing it. They only get to know about the pregnancy when its maturity day comes and the evil baby materializes. For most people, the pregnancy manifests at the most unexpected and most inconvenient time. It may be the day that should have been their day of their glory and joy which then turns into a day of evil testimony, a day of shame, a day of sorrow. For example, it may be the day that they give birth to their first child which ends up in the death of mother and baby. It may be the day of their graduation when they suddenly run insane. It could be during their honeymoon that the fibroid or impotence materializes throwing the couple into great sorrow and confusion.
Say what now?
It takes a moment, but it quickly becomes clear that the author, a Pentecostal pastor named Morayo Isi, is not talking about literal pregnancies.
A satanic pregnancy may be the plan of the enemy to put you on a hospital bed for the rest of your life. It is that wicked plan to kill you before your time. It is that satanic conspiracy to divert you from your place of blessings and breakthroughs. It may be that the enemy is trying to spoil your life through one means or another. It may be that wicked plan to embarrass or strip you naked in public.
A good example of an evil pregnancy in the Bible is the evil plan that Haman put in place to hang Mordecai. He did not just stop at planning but actually constructed the gallows which he intended to use to carry out his evil plan. In the end, God punctured his evil pregnancy and he was hung in his own gallows.
This isn’t about literal, physical pregnancies. It’s about spiritual warfare. A “satanic pregnancy” is an evil plan of Satan in your life that has not yet come to fruition. This is why it’s called a “pregnancy”; it’s in progress and will only become fully manifest later.
After reading the article on Pentecostal pastor Morayo Isi’s blog, I went looking for the term “satanic pregnancy” on other Pentecostal blogs and websites. And I found it.
See this website, for example:
1. Every problem that has come into my life through the mouth gate, receive divine solution, in the name of Jesus.
2. Every satanic pregnancy in my life die, in the name of Jesus.
3. Every satanic investment in my life be wasted by fire, in the name of Jesus.
4. Every witchcraft agenda for my life, scatter by thunder, in the name of Jesus.
Or see this forum, for instance:
POWER AGAINST DESTINY ROBBERS
Aggressive Praise Worship
1. Every roaring of satanic Lions against my life, be silenced by fire, in the name of Jesus.
2. Activities of vagabond evil broadcasters, be terminated by fire, in the name of Jesus.
3. Every satanic pregnancy against my life, be aborted by fire, in the name of Jesus.
4. Every power hunting for my secrets, be deaf and blind, in the name of Jesus.
5. I paralyze every power of bewitchment fashioned against me, in the name of Jesus.
The above list of prayers—there are 40 lines total—can be found elsewhere on the internet, including here, on the website of Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries in Houston, which appears to have some connection to White.
Those lines above? This is just how Pentacostals pray. I didn’t grow up Pentecostal, but I spent some time attending the meetings of a charismatic group, and while I don’t remember hearing the specific term “satanic pregnancy,” the lines quoted above offer a good example of language that is ordinary in charismatic and Pentecostal circles. It sounds odd to those outside, but it’s completely normal language within the group.
Next, I changed my search parameters to include the last week and saw that Paula White just yesterday responded to the controversy over her words. When White’s comments began circulating on twitter, most people responding assumed she was calling for women to miscarry, in direct contradiction of her pro-life views. But as we’ve seen here, the term “Satanic pregnancy” means something entirely different in Pentecostal circles—and this is exactly what White explained yesterday.
I don't normally respond but clearly this has been taken out of context. I was praying Eph 6:12 that we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Anything that has been conceived by demonic plans, for it to be cancelled and not prevail in your life… https://t.co/tKEUs4muwZ
— Paula White-Cain (@Paula_White) January 26, 2020
Not everyone has accepted White’s explanation, but frankly, her explanation makes perfect sense, both in the context of both Pentecostal prayer and spiritual warfare practices and the fact that the term is already used in Pentecostal spaces, where it manifestly does not refer to literal pregnancies.
The phrasing White used wasn’t something she invented, and her explanation was not constructed after the fact to wave away something she should not have said.
Finally, for those who didn’t watch the full clip embedded in the tweet that went viral, I’ve taken the time to transcribe it in full just now. It’s a minute and a half long:
“We interrupt that which has been deployed to hurt the church in this season, that which has been deployed to hurt this nation, in the name of Jesus, forgive us! For our sins. Come on, I need you guys to pray!
“We cancel every surprise, from the witchcraft in the marine kingdom, any hex, any spell, any witchcraft, any spirit of control, any Jezebel, anything that the enemy desires through spell, through witchcraft, through any way that is manipulation, demonic manipulation, we curse that. We break it. According to the Word of God.
“In the name of Jesus, we come against the marine kingdom, we come against the animal kingdom, the [inaudible] that rides upon the waters, we break that power in the name of Jesus, and we declare that any strange winds, any strange winds that have been sent to hurt this church, sent against this nation, sent against our president, sent against myself, sent against others we break it by the superior blood of Jesus right now.
“In the name of Jesus we arrest every affliction, fatigue, weariness, weakness, fear, sickness, any self righteousness, any self serving action God, let pride fall, let pride fall, let pride fall, let pride fall in the name of Jesus.
“We command all satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now, we declare that anything that’s been conceived in satanic wombs, that it’ll miscarry, it will not be able to carry forth any plan of destruction, any plan of harm.”
Knowing now what a satanic pregnancy is—an evil plan of Satan that is underway but has not yet come to fruition—and understanding Pentecostals’ emphasis on spiritual warfare and their prayer style, White’s comments make sense.
I am no huge fan of Pentecostalism in general, or of Paula White in particular. But I do know one thing: despite all the chatter on twitter this weekend to the effect, White did not in fact call on God to cause women’s pregnancies to abort. (See more from this scholar.)
I have a Patreon! Please support my writing!